Dining With Denise Neil

Spangles’ new winter special is just like mom used to make

Spangles’ new winter special is grilled cheese and Campbell’s tomato soup, just like mom used to make.
Spangles’ new winter special is grilled cheese and Campbell’s tomato soup, just like mom used to make.

For years, Barb Chamberlin hounded her friend, Dale Steven, co-owner of Wichita’s Spangles restaurant chain, about her favorite dish: Grilled cheese sandwich paired with Campbell’s tomato soup.

She’d loved it since childhood, and she loved Spangles’ version of the grilled cheese. She’d frequently buy one, but since the restaurant didn’t have the soup to go with it, she’d have to run home and heat some up.

How convenient it would be, she would tell Steven, if she didn’t have to go home over her lunch hour.

To drive home her point, Chamberlin would occasionally send Steven reminders. She’d clip out magazine articles extolling the virtues of grilled cheese and tomato soup combos. Once, she sent him a video of herself at home slaving over the stove as her Spangles grilled cheese sat waiting nearby. A few years ago, she hand-crafted a Christmas ornament featuring a grilled cheese sandwich and bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup and dropped it at his office.

Steven recently summonsed Chamberlin to a Spangles restaurant.

“I go over and here he comes with this grin on his face,” Chamberlin said. “He said, ‘You’re going to be excited about this.’”

Steven showed Chamberlin the signage for the restaurant’s new tomato soup and grilled cheese combo, which he informed her would be offered starting that night. It’s a double-decker grilled cheese sandwich served with a side of Campbell’s tomato soup that’s been supplemented with cream, and it costs $5.

The promotion so far is a big hit, said Stephanie Huckins, Spangles director of marketing. She said the chain now plans to bring it back every winter.

“I got a note back from him yesterday saying, ‘It’s one of the best promotions we’ve ever had,’” Chamberlin said. “And I said, ‘Uh, yeah, I know.’”

Today, Dec. 23, the chain is offering a free 20 oz. soft drink with a purchase of the special.